Mad Max was a wuss. We now know that the Borg are the most bad-ass life forms in the Universe. Well, if you’ve ever wondered what kind of gloves the Borg wear for a motorcycle ride, you’re looking at them! The styling of these Icon TiMax gloves is obviously what hits you first. The styling is polarizing — humans who see the TiMax gloves either love ’em or hate ’em.
While you may at first think that the gloves are aimed directly at the black-leather-and-spikes crowd on slammed kruisers, a second look will tell you that there’s more here than just the styling. Besides, let’s face it: motorcycling isn’t really about practicality. Not many like to admit this, but motorcycling is a large dose of image, posing and the tribe mentality. The make, model and type of bike you ride say a lot about your self image and how you want to project that image to the public.
Motorcycles in and of themselves are a radical statement to much of the unwashed masses (although much less so since your wife’s Obstetrician bought a Harley). Nevertheless, motorcycling is about image making. So why not play the radical and wear a pair of these?
I don’t own a cruiser (but who knows, I may some day!) and I consider myself part of the “Euro/sport/sport-touring” tribe.
They are identified by Aerostich-style jackets and expensive German helmets.
But after wearing the TiMax gloves and seeing the reaction from others, I think these are pretty cool mitts, in more ways than one.
But let’s get past the styling.
While it may be radical, it also serves a purpose in a way that goes beyond any other glove available, at least in this sector of the galaxy!
Those plates that you see are made out of gen-u-wine titanium.
That’s the “space age” stuff that used to be hugely expensive and rare on the Earth’s marketplace, as most of it was mined in the Soviet Union (remember them?) and hoarded by them for defense purposes.
Well, this is 2003, and titanium is so common that here it is on motorcycle gloves. Is capitalism great or what?!
Sorry folks – I’m not going to deliberately take a deliberate spill just to test the protection of these gloves.
But the next time I go sliding down the Interstate, I hope I’m wearing TiMax.
For some reason, I have a phobia about messing up my hands in a crash.
I picture myself in slow-motion, falling off the bike (a lowside, I hope!) and sliding down the pavement with my arm outstretched and my hands grinding along, leading the way.
One thing’s for certain: if you crash bad enough to wear through the TiMax gloves, you’ll have a lot more to worry about…
I count 8 titanium plates covering the second and third row of joints on the fingers of each hand and a single plate on each thumb.
There’s also a huge titanium plate over the main knuckles, backed by two separate pieces of leather.
And there are two more big Ti plates on each side of the wrist; and a smaller one on top of the wrist.
The outside wrist plates are strategically positioned to take the brunt of a slide where the impact will probably be the worst — on the outside.
Glove design of even a couple of years ago would probably have made the TiMax uncomfortable to wear.
Someone somewhere along the line recently came up with the brilliant idea of attaching glove armor remotely, instead of attaching it to the glove itself.
This is a subtle but very significant design feature that furthers the evolution of motorcycle hand protection.
For every bit of armor (and yes, this really can be considered “armor”) that is attached directly to the glove, you lose that much flexibility.
I dare say that with as much titanium as the TiMax has, if it weren’t for remote attachment, the glove would be impossible to wear.
Remotely attaching the armor plates on the TiMax gloves allows the glove to flex just like it would normally, yet it provides a flexible mounting point for armor AND another layer of leather over critical areas.
Each piece of titanium armor on the TiMax is attached to a separate piece of leather that is double-stitched to the glove’s body.
The titanium bits are attached to the remote leather via rivets.
You’d have to wear through the titanium, through the outer panel of remote 1.25 mm thick leather, and down through the leather of the glove itself before it caused any damage to your hand.
I am a bit concerned about the external stitching. I’m not sure what the stitching fabric is made of; I sure hope it’s not cotton.
While external stitching can offer better comfort, it’s sometimes too easy for it to get worn away very quickly in a slide.
Lining and Leather
The TiMax gloves have an interesting lining that feels like it has some thin foam backing, which make them feel comfortable and form-fitting.
Everyone who has worn the gloves first comments on their comfort.
There are also leather expansion panels at all of the flex points, which help to make the gloves feel good right from the start.
Like any leather garment, it takes a while to break them in, and they’ll stretch a bit after a couple of dozen outings, so they feel a bit tight at first.
The TiMax gloves fit just a touch smaller than normal. I usually take a size large glove and these were a bit tighter than expected, but I think after they stretch from normal wear that they’ll fit just fine.
When you get your hand past the cuff, the wrist entry definitely feels like it’s a bit smaller than normal, so I have to really push my hand to get it into the glove.
It kind of feels a bit like there is too much pressure in that area when I’m riding and my wrists are bent, but I’m sure this area will stretch over time also, so I’m not too worried about it.
Once my hands are inside, the gloves feel comfortable and secure.
There’s nothing worse than having a glove come off when it’s supposed to be protecting your hand, so the tighter wrist is probably a good thing that could help keep the glove in place during a crash.
The cuff closure is somewhat unique on the TiMax also and it could certainly help keep the gloves on when they’re needed most.
There’s a zipper along the inside of the wrist; it’s backed by seamless leather to keep out the elements.
The zipper is closed first. Next, there’s an internal narrow leather strap with “hook-and-loop” material (Icon doesn’t use the V-word) that tightens over your wrist to secure that area.
This strap is then covered by another piece of leather attached to the palm area. This piece is intended to protect the internal wrist strap in case of a slide.
The final wrist closure is provided by a two-piece external cuff system with the aforementioned titanium armor.
To secure it, you first attach the outer wrist panel over the piece of hook-and-loop, then attach the inner wrist panel over that.
This, in effect, provides 3 layers of thick leather protection for the “soft underbelly” of your wrist, a most critical area.
Let’s see — what else did we forget? The palm is protected by 60 (count ’em!) rivets on a separate piece of leather that goes from the lower inside of the palm up along the pinky finger.
The leather palm area is also backed by Nomex material — the fireproof stuff used in Formula 1 racer suits.
There’s an extra layer of leather covering the upper palm area that is also placed strategically under the area where your hand rests on the bike’s grips.
Also, the palm area is protected by “Pittard’s Armor-tan ceramic infused leather”.
I’m not exactly sure what this is, but it sound impressive!
And finally, the fingers are pre-curved for extra comfort. The gloves also carry a one year warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
One strange “feature” shows up when riding. There is a separate external leather piece that rides underneath the piece of leather that holds the main knuckle armor.
As the hand bends to fit around the handlebars, this piece pops straight up. People have commented that it looks like a fairing for your hands!
I guess it’s there to let everyone see the “TITANIUM PROTECTION” lettering on the front side, and to show the “Ride Among Us” Icon tag line on the back.
It’s almost too bad that the styling of these gloves will probably turn some people off.
Because there are some unique features here that I think further the movement towards more and better protection for motorcyclists, and this is a good thing!
More wBW Reviews
|wBW Review: Icon TiMax Gloves|
|Manufacturer: Icon||List Price (2004): $149.95|
|Colors: Black||Made In: China|
|Review Date: June 2004|
Owner Comments and Feedback
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From “P.L.”: “I wanted these gloves, as pictured in black, ever since they came out. But couldn’t justify the price tag to myself, or to my finance’ at the time.
So our best man for our wedding pooled the guys together and got me a pair for my bachelor party and I’ve been loving them ever since!
I’ve ridden with them in all types of conditions for 3.5 years now and every stitch, titanium plate, rivet and piece of leather of the gloves has held up great during the 30,000+ miles I’ve put on them in that time.
I’ve taken two spills with them, both low side crashes caused by rider error.
One of which was during a track day, though both incidents went off road, into a grass field & a gravel trap, respectively.
While the gloves are bulky compared to thin, skin-tight gloves, there’s no comparison in terms of protection, even from road debris or large bugs.
You hear the smack, but never feel a thing.
I love the gauntlet style as it covers further up the arm past the end of a jacket sleeve, giving me assurance no part of my hand or wrist is exposed.
And I get rave comments on them all the time. People think they’re the wickedest looking gloves they’ve ever seen (and I concur); like something the Ring Wraiths out of Lord of the Rings would wear.”
From “S.B.”: “I recently last September when down on the freeway going 65 MPH on my motorcycle after hitting a bridge expansion joint left out by the DOT.
I promised myself after the next day of buying a new bike that I would prepare myself better if I ever went down again. I had been riding for 17 years and that was the first time, and not my fault.
I recently purchased the Icon TiMax Gloves which are being clearanced out and not able to be found anymore.
You did a article on them and although the looks are strange, the are the best protection I have found. If you know of something else let me know.
I had plenty of protection, but the gloves I had stuck to the pavement, and shoved the hand into the wrist, and broke my wrist.
This is too common of a problem with motorcycle accidents and no one is making it known, and glove makers don’t respond. The studded palm would have/could have saved my wrist.”
From “J.”: “I was reading your review of the Icon TiMax’s. I got the black ones just like you reviewed.
I’m two wheel only and used these gloves almost exclusively (when it wasn’t raining) for two years, and these things have really held up.
I thought all that elaborate stitching wouldn’t hold together for that long, but I’m very impressed.
It looks like they might be off the market though? In favor of the new Merc line, it looks like. Too bad! These things are true monsters and have survived very heavy use with flying colors.”
From “MCH”: “Thanks for your worthwhile effort on the site. I’m glad I found it and wish you success.
I purchased a pair of Icon TiMax gloves, largely on the basis of the product and owner reviews on webBikeWorld.
My particular interest was in protection and a glove that was heavy enough to do winter duty. Protection is an understatement.
However, the lining and extra layers bearing the titanium plates actually provide decent protection from the cold as well.
I have ridden with these gloves in wind chill around 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Personally, I’ll stick with the Olympia winter gloves for temperatures below thirty, but the TiMaxes do well above that.”
From “T.”: “GREAT SITE! I just finished reading the review for the Icon TiMax gloves.
Love the part about the design being for “the young at heart”. My wife says that to me all the time, I’m 38.
Just bought the gloves from the dealership I work for. Your review is DEAD ON all the way, the pros and the cons, I’m impressed.”
From “M.”: “I ordered a pair of the TiMax gloves after checking them out on your website.
They do run small, and one of my knuckle rivets came loose the first time I tried them on.
Other than that, these gloves are badass, and after I fix the rivet I’m totally stoked. now if the weather would cooperate! Thanks for the info.”
From “G.W.”: “I read your review on the Icon TiMax gloves. I normally wear a medium size glove, but your review said that the gloves tend to run small.
Since I had to mail order, I wanted to get it right the first time. Thanks to your review I ordered the large and they fit perfect. Thanks for your review it really helped.”